Organisational unit: Research Grouping
BrisSynBio fosters systematic, synthetic-biology approaches to the design and engineering of biological systems across scales from atoms and molecules to cells and tissues. It trains the next generation of scientists and engineers in these approaches and facilitates the translation of fundamental synthetic-biology research to industry and the clinic. Its overall scientific objective is to design, engineer and characterise biological and bio-inspired systems for purposeful applications.
BrisSynBio is one of six RCUK Synthetic Biology Research Centers, supported by £13.6M from BBSRC and EPSRC and significant additional University of Bristol investment over the initial 5 years. BrisSynBio is also a key partner in SynBiCITE, the Imperial College led synthetic biology industrial translation engine; partners with Oxford and Warwick to deliver the BBSRC and EPSRC funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Synthetic Biology, and with the Defense Science and Technology Laboratories to train PhD students in the application of synthetic biology to the design of novel materials. The University’s Centre for Public Engagement is the UK lead on the EU-wide synenergene project, exploring public engagement practices in synthetic biology.
The BrisSynBio Director Professor Dek Woolfson is one of the UK’s leading advocates of advancing and broadening synthetic-biology approaches, particularly to biomolecular design and engineering. He has long standing research experience at the interface between the physical and biological sciences, and specifically in computational and experimental aspects of protein folding, design and engineering.
Deputy Director Dr Paul Race’s work focuses on the exploitation and manipulation of enzyme complexes, pathways and networks, en route to the development of new tools, technologies and products for red, green and white biotechnology.
BrisSynBio Facilities: BrisSynBio’s research programme is underpinned state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. These include: a dedicated BioSuite to support high-throughput microbial cell culture and protein production; an NMR facility with a new 700 MHz instrument with a 1.7mm cryoprobe for extreme sensitivity; facilities for peptide synthesis and biophysical studies of macromolecules; world-leading microscopy facilities including electron microscopy, confocal STED-FLIM-FCS microscopy and holographic microscopy: flow cytometry; and microfluidics facilities including a clean room to design and run bespoke 3D microfluidics devices. BrisSynBio has a dedicated high-performance computing (HPC) cluster (BlueGem) and a graphics suite. This includes an 80” wall-mounted passive 3D display to allow a highly immersive three-dimensional high-resolution view of molecular structures. http://www.bristol.ac.uk/brissynbio/equipment/
Industrial Partners: BrisSynBio will realize translational outcomes in the areas of fine and specialty chemicals and medicines and healthcare through interaction with industrial partners Bruker, GSK, Syngenta and UCB in the first instance. New industrial and commercial collaborators are actively sought.